Taking DART to the State Fair
It’s time again for the State Fair of Texas, and soon every man, woman and child in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex will descend upon Fair Park. Getting there is half the battle, and with traffic and parking being such a hassle, it’s tempting to take the train instead. If you do, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Stay informed. Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) has timetables on its website, and you can even check the status of your bus or train online if you have a smartphone. They also have an automated help line and even a text messaging service, so if anything goes wrong, you can at least stay in the loop.
- If you’re an able-bodied person, expect to stand. During rush hour and big events, the trains run at maximum capacity, especially on the Red and Orange Lines coming south from Plano.
- Keep to yourself. Most people are good about staying within their personal spaces, but there are always a couple of people who prefer to take up two whole seats and/or lean into other riders. Don’t join them. This also goes for sounds and smells; use headphones and refrain from eating or drinking anything pungent.
- If you go on a weekday, don’t ride home during rush hour. At five o’clock, the trains out of downtown are already packed enough as it is. Even if you’ve been at the fair all day, wait an extra hour till the daily commuters go home, for your sake and theirs.
- Above all, be flexible. Remember that “a bird in hand is worth two in the bush”. If you see another bus or train that gets you closer to your destination, take it. Especially on busy game days, the trains are prone to delays, so if you have more than one way to get there, you can save yourself some real frustration.
The train is a good way to get to the fair, as long as you remember that it’s not a cure-all. If you think it’s going to be a hassle-free experience, you will be disappointed. But if you compare it to sitting in traffic on I-30, paying some random guy twenty bucks to park in a muddy lot, and walking half a mile to the gate, you’ll find it’s a good way to get there. Just be smart about it and you’ll have a good time, both at the fair and on the ride home.
Steve Lovelace has ridden DART to work for the last four years. He blogs every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at steve-lovelace.com.